Relationship Advice

Getting relationship advice

Your guide to relationship advice

Relationship advice is a term that covers both the informal guidance people give one another about their most intimate relationships as well as some professional services which are designed to help couples. In most cases, such advice is not laid down as a set of rules that people need to stick to in order to maintain a successful relationship but a 'road map' that allows people to navigate their own way from a bad situation to a better one. In some cases, relationship advice will take the form of marriage guidance counselling, but this is by no means the only form that couples – and other groups, for that matter – engage in it nowadays.

 How can you give relationship advice to a friend?

Offering relationship advice if you have no professional training in counselling can be tricky. That said, many people turn to a trusted friend for their thoughts on relationships, especially close ones. If you are asked for your advice, then it is best to listen to what your friend has to say. Just letting them offload their thoughts and feelings can be beneficial. When offering your thoughts, try to be dispassionate and avoid taking sides or apportioning blame. Be honest but not brutally so because it sometimes takes time to face up to the situation your friend may be in with regards to their relationship.

Where can you go for relationship advice?

There are many outlets for professional relationship advice these days. Couples can go to marriage guidance counsellors or couples therapy professionals for assistance with rebuilding their partnership. This is available to all sorts of couples as well as people who are in unconventional relationships which may involve more than two people. There are a number of self-help books that you can read which will offer insights into your relationship and some a designed to be read as a couple so that what they reveal is learned by you both. If the problems in a relationship are of a sexual nature, then seeking the professional help of a sex therapist may be appropriate.

Is family therapy part of relationship advice?

Although it is often seen as distinct from the sort of relationship advice given to couples, family therapy often focusses on the internal relationships between parents and children, siblings and even wider family members, such as grandparents and cousins. The number of individual relationships in a family setting is obviously greater than those of a couple. However, it all still comes down to the same sort of supportive approach as marriage guidance.

What theories lie behind relationship advice?

All sorts of psychological and other theories back up the work of professional relationship advisors. For example, active listening is an approach that is often used as is Gestalt practice, something that is commonly used in family therapy sessions, for example. In some cases, video interaction guidance is now used, too, which helps individuals to see how they interact with others.

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Marriage, also known as wedlock or matrimony, is the state between people, which means that they will be partners. In a legal sense, it places both rights and obligations on the people who are married. Although marriage between two people is the norm, certain cultures allow for polygamy or marriage between an individual and several partners. For many centuries, marriage was only allowed between adults – although the definition of what constituted an adult varied – who were of opposite sexes. Nowadays, many countries around the world allow for legal unions between same-sex couples as well as transgender people. It has many religious connotations although marriage is a legal status, usually sanctioned by the state.
Like other forms of counselling, marriage guidance - or counselling - is a talking therapy whereby a couple will engage with a professional counsellor to attempt to resolve issues in their relationship. Typically, married couples will use marriage counselling to help them stay together if they are considering a separation period or even a divorce. It is not just used by married couples, however. Marriage counselling is often referred to as couples counselling so that it is more inclusive for people who are not married to one another but who are, nonetheless, in a relationship.
Intimacy is best described as the closeness between individuals at a physical or an emotional level. For example, an intimate act might be the physical contact that comes about when cleaning someone or even gently brushing their hair. At a physical level, intimacy also includes sexual contact, although, for something to be intimate, it does not necessarily need to be sexual. At the emotional level, intimacy means a certain closeness of spirit. Again, this could be platonic, such as the intimacy and trust shared between friends, or the sort of intimacy that comes from a sexual partnership.
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